By Mustapha Jallow

The people of Foni have told officials of the National Council for Civic Education (NCCE) and the Constitutional Review Commission’s (CRC) joint sensitisation delegation that their tour of the country particularly Foni, was an opportunity for dialogue and peace building in their communities.

These remarks were made in Sibanor, in the Foni Bintang Karanai District of the West Coast Region, during the joint public sensitisation meetings of the NCCE/CRC on Constitutional review process. The CRC/NCCE civic education mission was to give opportunity to every citizen to raise their concerns on issues of importance to them as their contribution, when members of the CRC arrive in their localities.

Speaking on behalf of the Alkalos of Foni in Sibanor, the Alkalo of Bajagarr village Duta Sanyang, said that politics has destroyed their communities; that many young people think that the joint civic education mission of the NCCE/CRC on the Constitutional review process is political. He urged the youth of his community to change their attitudes and help move the nation forward. He called on his fellow Alkalos in other settlements to mobilize their communities and attend all the meetings with the CRC team, when they visit them; that they (Alkalos) should inform their people that the gathering is for their own good and that of their children’s future. He urged the youth to come out and express their views and concerns affecting them, so that it can be captured in the forthcoming new Constitution. He advised those sitting at home not to blame anyone but themselves, when the new Constitution is drafted; that there is a lot that needs to be raised by the youth such as free education, the presidency, health care, etc. “I therefore call on the young people to come out and make their views and contribute towards the making of the new Constitution or what you want removed from it,’’ he called.

Tombong Sanyang, the Alkalo of Bintang Karanai, said he is disappointed with the youth of his village. “I am sad and ashamed as a result of the conduct of the youth for failing to turn out and raise their concerns. What is the essence of their education? Most of them are not taking the constitutional review process seriously. What would a nation be without a Constitution?’’ he asked. Sanyang said everything has been politicized in the country; that some people do not know the difference between politics and civic education.

Jakonba Jaiteh of Sibanor, expressed disappointment over the conduct of young people of Foni-Bintang, by distancing themselves from the constitutional review process. “Whether you contribute or raise your concerns and ideas or not, the new Constitution will be drafted, because it belongs to the citizens of the country,’’ she said.

Ansumana Yabou, of the NCCE said youth are the future leaders of the country; that the Constitutional review process is a national issue for all Gambians. “This is the right time for Gambian youth to come out and raise their concerns for the new Constitution. Whatever they raise and has been captured in the Constitution, will determine their future. So, if the youth are not coming out to contribute in the process, it means the country will fail because they are the majority participating in the process,’’ he said. Yabou said the youth should not see the CRC/NCCE public campaign as someone else’s business but a national one; that most of them, complain of unemployment and lack of development.

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